“Organic” has become an important word when it comes to food, but many people still wonder exactly what it means and why organic food may be better for you.
What does “organic” mean?
Organic foods are grown without the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers,away from sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms and ionizing radiation. Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that haven’t been given antibiotics or growth hormones. Pesticides pollute our water supply, so steering clear of them is a good way to benefit the environment, while antibiotic over usage can result in increased bacterial resistance.
To ensure that what you’re buying meets the United States Department of Agriculture’s standards for organic food, look for a “USDA organic” label on the product you’re considering.
What are the health benefits of choosing organic foods?
Here are five reasons why organic food will improve your health:
1. You’ll be consuming fewer pesticides
Conventionally grown foods are treated with insecticides, fungicides and herbicides, and chemical residue from these pesticides can remain on and in food –even if you traditionally wash or rinse it before eating.
2. Organic food is often fresher
Because organic food doesn’t contain preservatives to make it last longer, it’s often shipped from farms that are closer to you, making it fresher as a result.
3. It tastes better
Many people believe that organic foods taste better, which means you’ll be more likely to reach for nutritious options like fruits and vegetables instead of junk or fast food.
4. It’s free of GMOs
As mentioned above, organic food does not contain GMOs – organisms that have been genetically engineered using genes from other plants or animals. GMOs are controversial, and although some studies support their safety, many people prefer not to eat genetically modified foods, citing health concerns.
5. It contains more of some nutrients
Several studies have found that organic foods contain more of certain beneficial nutrients. For instance, organic dairy and meat was found to contain about 50 percent more omega-3s than traditional dairy products and meats. These fatty acids have been linked to a variety of important health benefits, including improved heart and immune function. Meanwhile, another study found that a number of different organic fruits and vegetables had substantially higher amounts of antioxidants than their conventionally grown counterparts.
How to get started
If you’re eager to start eating organic, begin by purchasing organic foods that tend to contain high levels of pesticide residues if not grown organically. These include:
- Green peas
- Green beans
And if you’re concerned about antibiotics and hormones, buy the following products from organically raised animals:
For more information about why organic food can help improve your diet in the new year, contact BMI of Texas.
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